After streaming services and rival networks launched their holiday programming — and seasonal rom-com — many actors and actresses have signed deals with Great American Family or Netflix. Still, several Hallmark Channel staples told us they have no plans to find Christmas spirit elsewhere.
Jonathan Bennett, who stars in 2022’s The Holiday Sitter as one-half of the network’s first leading gay couple in a Christmas movie, gushed about the support he received during filming and why he’s so proud to be part of the change. But he also said that there’s something about Hallmark that makes it feel special.
Alison Sweeney Explains Why She Loves Hallmark Channel movies.
The network has a long history of putting out a slate of feel-good films yearly around the holidays. They’re comforting and predictable with a generous dollop of sappiness. And they’ve always been popular.
But Hallmark is taking another step forward in diversifying its lineup this season. It’s bringing in more LGBTQ-friendly films.
In addition to adding more same-sex couples in their movies, Hallmark is also expanding the types of stories they tell. It’s part of a move to diversify the network after former CEO Bill Abbott came under fire for pulling an ad featuring a same-sex couple.
Actress Candace Cameron Bure is set to star in the network’s following two Christmas films and wants to diversify her roster. But she’s also a staunch advocate for traditional marriage.
She told ET that her “biggest hope” is that the network’s new focus on “ethnic diversity” will inspire even more people to join the network.
Meanwhile, actress Danica McKellar, who is in her fourth Hallmark film this year, said she loves the diversity and inclusivity of the network’s holiday programming. And she thinks the network’s focus on various genres will allow them to “tell more complex stories” while still “maintaining the Hallmark feel.”
More Celebrities Are Endorsing the Network
Celebrities like Aimee Teegarden, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Ashley Williams are joining the network this season. Aimee plays a woman determined to make her high school reunion perfect, while Kimberly and Ashley are in two related movies.
And it’s not just celebrities: The network is getting a boost from technology that lets consumers sign and send Christmas cards by email without leaving their couches. It’s called Sign & Send, and it’s free to try on the app, and Hallmark will cover the cost of the postage.
The service, available on iOS and Android, allows users to create a card with their handwriting, and it sends them via text, email, and social media. It’s part of Hallmark’s ongoing efforts to modernize the network’s marketing and increase its audience.
In addition to the Sign & Send feature, Hallmark has an online video card that lets viewers add personalized videos and photos to greeting cards. It’s free to download and can be viewed on any device. It’s a convenient way to share your favorite memories and photos with loved ones.